District History Timeline



SSJID was established to provide a reliable and economical source of irrigation water for agricultural use in and around Escalon, Manteca and Ripon.



In conjunction with Oakdale Irrigation District (OID), SSJID constructed a dam above Knights Ferry named after SSJID Board President Benjamin A. Goodwin. Actual irrigation began in the spring of 1914.


SSJID encountered a shortage of water in 1915 due to little rain and snow in the previous winter. To minimize the damage to the water-starved crops if faced with similar shortages in the future, SSJID constructed Woodward Reservoir near Oakdale. This increased SSJID’s storage capacity by 36,000 acre feet.


SSJID and OID joined forces again to build Melones Reservoir. Melones Reservoir held 110,000 acre feet and could irrigate 144,000 acres of land in both districts. Years later, the federal government took over Melones and greatly increased its capacity. The water storage facility is now known as New Melones Reservoir and allows SSJID and OID first rights to a combined 600,000 acre feet of water.


SSJID and OID jointly form the Tri-Dam Project. Tri-Dam had two functions: to increase water storage to meet irrigation obligations and to add hydropower production at a low cost and substantial benefit. The Tri-Dam reservoirs — Donnells, Beardsley and Tulloch — became operational in just two years. The Tri-Dam Project was completed in 1957.


SSJID went online with a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system and automation technology to operate the Main Distribution Canal.


SSJID constructed the small VanGroningen Reservoir east of Carrollton Road in Ripon and, in 1996, a larger control room nearby.


NOTE: insert here text to come regarding fishery science program.  Year still unknown.


SSJID completed the Northwest Project, a portion of the System Improvements for Distribution Efficiency Project (S.I.D.E), which consisted of a main interceptor pipeline, a reservoir near the “R” canal, connections to the “R” canal, and pumps and screens on the existing laterals.


The District responded to unprecedented urban growth and began providing domestic water service to South San Joaquin County cities with its state-of-the-art membrane filtration water treatment plant at the foot of Woodward Reservoir, named after SSJID Board member Nick C. DeGroot. Also in 2005, the Board of Directors unanimously voted to proceed with the attempt to purchase PG&E’s distribution network within its service area and provide electrical service to Manteca, Escalon and Ripon.


SSJID completed construction of the 1.4-megawatt Robert O. Schulz Solar Farm on a site adjacent to the Nick C. DeGroot Water Treatment Plant. The electricity generated is used to power the water treatment plant, and the District passes on a 15% savings on power costs to the cities who participate in the treatment plant. Also in 2009, the District celebrated 100 years of reliable service in which its customers’ needs come first. Our goal remains the same today as it was in 1909: “It is the desire and intention to carry on the business of the District in a businesslike and economical manner … to secure the greatest good to the greatest number.” (SSJID Rules and Regulations 1919).


Completion of the Irrigation Enhancement Project resulted in more efficient water use while providing area growers using micro, drip and sprinkler systems (pressure systems) with individualized, automated irrigation access through online and mobile technology. The unique system, servicing 3,800 acres of farmland near Ripon,  was constructed over a three-year period.


SSJID successfully won approval from the San Joaquin Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCo) to have the right to provide retail electric service in its territory in a hard-fought legal battle against PG&E.


SSJID and OID provided a unique supplemental spring pulse flow action that enhanced salmon outmigration and contributed to much-needed agricultural and urban water supply needs.